Her Opponent is a video case. Actors of the opposite gender portray Clinton (played by a man) and Trump (played by a woman), replicating every word, intonation, facial and non-verbal expression of the candidates. Her Opponent stemmed from a thought experiment: What if Donald Trump had been a woman, and Hillary Clinton had been a man? How would the debates have unfolded and what difference might there have been? The audience experiences first-hand a counterfactual reality as the basis for discussing how it affects perceptions of the speakers.
This case is a unique opportunity for students to experience how their perceptions of others – and what they communicate – can change based on surface-level characteristics. It opens up a broader discussion on what shapes our perceptions of others, and their perceptions of us. In watching a debate between two public figures (Clinton and Trump) portrayed by actors of the opposite gender, students experience the way their perceptions of the person and the message can shift as a function of seemingly irrelevant factors. The aim is to enable students to: • Understand the factors that shape their perceptions of others; • Experience how their impressions of the message may change as a function of the person delivering the message; • Reflect on how they may be perceived by others based on surface-level characteristics; • Understand what they can do (as the perceivers and the perceived) to guard against perceptual bias.
- Donald Trump
- Hillary Clinton
- Unconscious bias